Last Supper

Mykhailo Boichuk

  • Last Supper 2
  • Last Supper 3
Basic information
Mykhailo Boichuk
Last Supper
Date of creation
paper pencil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
28.4 x 41.5
Information about author
Mykhailo Boichuk
Artist's lifetime
Mykhailo Boichuk was a Ukrainian muralist and representative of the Ukrainian cultural Renaissance of the early twentieth century. He was the founder of Boichukism, the original school of Ukrainian art, and leader of the group of Boichukists. His name is given to an artistic phenomenon that combined the forms of folk art and the heritage of Byzantium and Proto-Renaissance. The French called it Renovation Byzantine (Neo-Byzantism). In 1913, he became a member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, and in 1917 – of the Ukrainian Scientific Society. Mykhailo Boichuk was born on October 30, 1882, in the village of Romanivka, near Terebovlia. He received an excellent artistic education thanks to the support of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. The painter studied in Lviv, Vienna, Krakow, and later in Munich and Paris. In 1909, he founded his own school where Mykola Kasperovych, Zofia Nalepinska, Zofia Baudouin de Courtenay, Helena Schramm and others studied. In 1911, he returned to Lviv where he worked as a fine art restorer and muralist at the National Museum (now the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv). In 1917, he became one of the founding professors of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts where he headed the icon and fresco studio. In 1925, Mykhailo was one of the organizers of the Association of Revolutionary Art of Ukraine. The most significant works made together with students were paintings on modern themes in the Lutsk barracks in Kyiv in 1919, Sanatorium for Peasants on the coast of the Khadzhibey Estuary in Odesa between 1927 and 1928, and the Chervonozavodskyi Theater in Kharkiv between 1933 and 1935. All monumental paintings have not survived. On November 25, 1936, Mykhailo Boichuk was arrested and charged with Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism as well as being a leader of a national-fascist terrorist organization. The artist was shot, and most of his works were destroyed.
Object description
The first great work by Mykhailo Boichuk performed in Lviv was the paintings of the chapel of St. John the Baptist (in the premises of the former seminary for clerks). The seminary was a foundation of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. Of particular interest is the altar composition “The Last Supper”, which is housed in the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv. The sketches for the mural painting “The Last Supper” completely correspond to the composition of the same name icon. Boichuk used the reverse perspective and the associated conditionalism in the means of depicting. The connection with the Byzantine tradition is observed not only in the perspective system but also at the semantic level, when Christ, the most important figure, is depicted greater than other characters. In the composition of the mural painting “The Last Supper”, Boichuk skillfully used the shape of the wall (the arch); this motif of the arch is repeated in the outline of the table, concept of emplotment, as well as in the placement of Christ and the apostles. In Boichuk's works, the plot itself acquires the Eucharistic meaning; in the setting of the table, of particular significance are a sufficiently large chalice with wine and altar breads as symbols of Christ's blood and body; the small altar breads arranged in a semicircle create exactly the "rhythm of rhythm", which is one of the stylistic features of Boichuk, forming an association of his creative work with modernism. The chalice with wine fixes the vertical axis of the composition at the bottom, emphasizing its center with the image of Christ and St. John, who leaned on the table and clung to the Teacher. The artist almost avoided the gestures in the image. The apostles sit very close to each other; their hands are hidden. Only the blessing hand of Christ with his three fingers clenched together for the sign of the cross lies on the table. The tension manifests itself not only in the position of the characters, but also in the rhythm of the halos, which are depicted as if they are moving on both sides to the center, to the figure of Christ. Only Judas doesn’t have a halo.